Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Female Chinatown hawk

Below are some photos of the female Chinatown hawk who passed away in the early hours of March 31.  I only spent about a month observing her and her mate, but quickly grew attached.  Their youthful energy was so engaging and I was fascinated watching them go through their mating and nesting rituals.  They were a joy to experience.

March 13:  I found her hanging out in a ball court on Eldridge Street.

Lower East Side hawk

She was interested in a trash pile, which was worrying.  I couldn't see if there were rodents hidden behind the fence, but the hawk tried several times to grab at what ever was in there.

Lower East Side hawk

You can see she had bright yellowish-amber eyes and a distinctive tail.  The outer feathers had dark brown barring, which made her easy to identify.

Lower East Side hawk

Lower East Side hawk

Lower East Side hawk

March 18:  Both hawks took sticks from Columbus Park to an a/c on the city administrative building on Baxter Street.  They would visit nearly every a/c in the area.

Chinatown hawk

The female took a piece of bark to an open window on the Baxter side of the Criminal Court Building.

One reason to keep screens on your window

Hawk with bark

Both hawks spent a great deal of time in Collect Pond Park.  Here, the female looks at me while her mate eyes some pigeons.

Chinatown red-tail pair

Female Chinatown hawk

She had a patch of ruffled feathers on the underside of her right wing which also aided in identifying her.

Chinatown hawk

Chinatown hawk

March 19:  She gathers sticks in Collect Pond Park.  The hawks ended up favoring an a/c on the Leonard Street side of Department of Health building for their nest.

Female RTH in Collect Pond Park

March 21:  Flying with a stick over Hogan Place in the early morning.

Chinatown hawk

Chinatown hawk

Chinatown hawk

March 25:  Mating right above the entrance to the Criminal Court Building.  At the time, I thought this was hilarious.

Hawks mating in Chinatown

March 30:  Late in the evening, the hawks mated for one last time in Collect Pond Park, then sat together for a few minutes (he is on the left, she's on the right).  This was the last time I saw the pair together like this.  He ended up flying off to roost in Columbus Park, while she remained in the tree.

Chinatown hawks

Update:  The male was seen taking sticks to an a/c across the street from Collect Pond Park today, so he is still in the area and appears to still be in nest-building mode. 

As far as I know, there is no plan to stop baiting for rats in the area.  Rodenticide is a public health issue.  Please email Council Member Margaret Chin (chin@council.nyc.gov) and demand the city use alternative methods of pest control in our public parks. 

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